The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Death by Perdiz

Dead Tired

Last Saturday I returned home from a great week of perdiz (Nothura maculosa) hunting with JP Cacerias in Trinidad, province of Flores, Uruguay. As always João Paulo da Costa and his beautiful family welcomed us in a delightful way and we felt truly at home at El Solar del Cazador.

This was a week to renew and strength some friendships, create others, exchange experiences, stories and lies, commune around good food, common memories, a glass of local red wine or just the right amount of a long traveled Macallan.

In his fantastically provincial speech my friend Eloir superbly describes some highlights of our latest hunt in his own blog “Contos de Caçada”, and I talked briefly about it on the previous post “An Exercise in Self Control”, but I do feel that there is more to talk about.

The first great surprise is that I finally found a great airport restaurant! At Montevideo’s Carrasco International Airport surprised us with a refined black olive and honey tapenade, a delicious Bife Ancho (Rib Eye) accompanied by a refined chimichurri and papas al libro, an oven roasted potato that is thinly sliced, but not all way through, so it reminds a book. The desert, a crêpe with local dulce de leche was also freshly prepared. A bottle of Don Pascual merlot highlighted the excellent and reasonably priced meal.

The second surprise that I also already talked about was the increase in the number of perdigões or martinetas (Rhyncofus rufensis). By the end of the week I would have had the opportunity to shoot at ten of the Queen of Upland Birds, but of course no shots were taken, and we can only hope that in the near future we shall be allowed to hunt these great game birds.

There is also a substantial increase in the local duck population which had been seriously impacted by years of draught, and it is recovering to levels that may justify the re-opening of duck season in the region.

Although not a surprise, the bad news is that, like in other parts of the world, changing in agricultural practices are the real danger for sustainable perdiz populations. Perdiz needs native grasslands, and although it can adapt certain other covers and agricultural crops like millet, sorghum, corn and wheat, its two worth enemies are encroaching the Uruguayan landscape in a seemingly unstoppable way, soybeans and eucalyptus.

Soybeans and eucalyptus create green deserts that bisect the pampas. The chemicals required by soybeans kills not only weeds and insects, but also the perdiz and other wildlife, and nothing in South America eats eucalyptus, except fire ants.

On the positive side, João Paulo tells us that the recent rains that made our walking the Uruguayan fields so much more difficult will also boost the coming perdiz hatch, and we should expect a very health population next season.

Talking about rain and difficult walking I really missed my Muck boots in this hunt, by my chaps saved the days. And walking was the price to pay for every bird we collected. It may not be the mile a flush for ruffed grouse during the bottom of the cycle, but it was close. And a lot of the places we found birds this year was on e edge of water, with the perdiz only moving to drier higher fields during the warm hours of the day.

At the end of a long day at Durazno, which included a parrilada with more than one bottle of Don Pascual, I was so tired as to almost consider death by perdiz!

After this great week in a distant and pleasant country I brought home memories and sore feet, and an ardent desire to do it again.

3 comments:

  1. Rodrigo, was a big pleasure be there in Uruguay with you, Pedro, Bill and Jim.
    I hope you will lose weigh to be able walk more next time.

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  2. Awesome post, thanks for sharing this post..

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